Historian Ken Burns reminded supporters of the Confederacy on Sunday that the Civil War had been primarily about slavery, and not states’ rights as many conservatives have claimed.
“You know, when the Constitutional Convention happened, there was a man named John J. Chapman, who said slavery was like a sleeping serpent,” Burns told CBS host John Dickerson. “It lay coiled under the table during the deliberations; thereafter, slavery was on everyone’s mind, if not always on his tongue.”
“You know, we’ve grown up as country with a lot of powerful symbols of the Civil War in popular culture that would be ‘Birth of a Nation,’ D.W. Griffiths’ classic, and ‘Gone with the Wind,’ of course,” he explained. “And in that, it postulates, among other things, both films, that the Ku Klux Klan, which is a homegrown terrorist organization, was actually a heroic force in the story of the Civil War. So it’s no wonder that Americans have permitted themselves to be sold a bill of goods about what happened, oh, it’s about states’ rights, it’s about nullification, it’s about differences between cultural and political and economic forces that shaped the North and the South.”
But Burns recommended that Americans read South Carolina’s Articles of Secession to get the real story on why the states went to war against each other.
“[T]hey do not mention states’ rights. They mention slavery, slavery, slavery,” he pointed out. “And that we have to remember. It is much more complicated than that, but essentially the reason why we murdered each other — more than 2 percent of our population, 750,000 Americans died; that’s more than all the wars from the Revolution through Afghanistan combined — was over essentially the issue of slavery.”
According to Burns, the racism running through the DNA of America was still present in modern day politics.
“The main American theme, I think, is freedom,” he noted. “But we also notice that race is always there. Always there. When Thomas Jefferson says all men are created equal, he owns a couple hundred human beings and he doesn’t see the contradiction or the hypocrisy and doesn’t free anybody in his lifetime and sets in motion an American narrative that is bedeviled by a question of race.”
“And we struggle with it. We try to ignore it. We pretend, with the election of Barack Obama, that we’re in some post-racial society,” he continued. “And what we have seen is a kind of reaction to this. The birther movement, of which Donald Trump is one of the authors of, is another politer way of saying the N word. It’s just more sophisticated and a little bit more clever. He’s ‘other,’ he’s different.”
“What’s actually ‘other’ and different about him? It turns out it’s the same old thing. It’s the color of his skin.”
Watch the video below from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast August 23, 2015.
GOPer Joni Ernst booed and peppered with questions about guns at tense Iowa town hall
In videos uploaded to Twitter, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) received a chorus of boos and shouts from a town hall crowd after she tried to blame mass shootings on mental health issues, with one person shouting, "Do something!"
According to a report from Iowa Starting Line, the embattled Iowa Senator whose approval numbers have dropped, due in part to President Donald Trump, was pressed by one local teacher about changing gun laws so she can get back to the job she was hired for.
‘That is ridiculous’: Andrew Gillum obliterates Santorum for claiming guns aren’t ‘problem’ in mass shootings
CNN contributor Andrew Gillum called conservative pundit Rick Santorum "ridiculous" on Sunday for suggesting that guns are not the problem in mass shootings.
During a CNN discussion on gun control, Santorum criticized calls from Democratic candidates for the government to buy back assault-style weapons in addition to banning them.
"The truth is something has to give," Gillum said. "The stranglehold that the NRA seems to have over Congress, over Washington, D.C., in my opinion, is insane. How can we put the priorities of one interest group above the safety, the security of the American people?"
WATCH: Tenn. lawmaker seeks to ‘destroy Satan’ by banning abortions in cases of rape and incest
The sponsor of a bill that would effectively ban all abortions in Tennessee said that he hopes to "destroy Satan."
Sen. Mark Pody (R) made the remarks at a Monday prayer gathering before debate on the bill.
"I'm not against any colleagues, whether they're standing with me or not," Pody said. "I'm against Satan and I'm standing with God."
"We will not back up, we will not back down, we will not turn around," he added. "We face the enemy. We have no protection when we run. We have no protection for our back."
The Tennessee ban would take effect once "a viable pregnancy is presumed to exist or has been confirmed," effectively banning all abortions in the state. There is no exception in the bill for rape or incest.